Nonexistent Department coordinating road improvements

Ascension’s President Kenny Matassa issued the following press release under the headline Asphaltic Reconstruction & Overlay Improvements Set to Proceed throughout July:

As part of the 2017 Asphaltic Reconstruction & Overlay Improvements Project, the Department of Transportation & Engineering will coordinate with Coastal Bridge Contractors to reconstruct the following roads:

1. Annie Oak Drive / Veronique Drive—Beginning July 10
2. Whitfield Road—Beginning July 13
3. Bourgeois Road—Beginning July 17
4. Tillotson Road / Aikens Road—Beginning July 20

“This is the first phase of much needed reconstruction projects to keep Ascension moving safely,” said President Kenny Matassa. “A second phase will proceed this year with an additional set of roadways as approved by the Council.”

The estimated completion for all four roads is 50 days, depending upon weather and site conditions. The entire length of each road will be totally reconstructed starting with the road base. The
contractor is currently working on the replacement of cross drains. Construction activities include pipe replacement, soil cement operations, and asphalt overlay.

Roads will be temporarily reduced to one lane during construction activities. Motorists and residents should expect delays when traveling down any of the listed roads.

What could possibly go wrong…(other than the fact that a nonexistent department of parish government “will coordinate with” the construction company performing the work)?  Department of Transportation and Engineering?  Ascension’s governmental website lists no such department.  In fact, there is neither a Department of Transportation, nor a Department of Engineering.

When Matassa consolidated parish departments in April of 2016 the thought was to consolidate Public Works and Drainage.  During a meeting of East Ascension Drainage Board in May of 2016 newly-appointed DPW Director Bill Roux explained the reorganization that would create five new “Divisions” under the suddenly more expansive Public Works’ umbrella, with corresponding “Assistant DPW Directors” to oversee each.

  1. Drainage Management (Allen Allred);
  2. Vegetation Management (Ron Savoy);
  3. Equipment Inventory Management (Davin Duplessis);
  4. Capital Projects Management (Mike Enlow); and
  5. Engineering & Pavement Management (Joey Tureau).

The problem with tasking a non-existent department (with a non-existent department head) is who will be held to account when/if the project goes awry…Oh, now we understand.

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